GE2103 Appreciating Masterpieces of Western Culture

Course Aims

This course aims to examine some of the greatest masters of Western culture: European and American writers from Shakespeare to Dickens to Ezra Pound to Gary Snyder; European painters from Giotto to Rembrandt to Picasso; opera composers including Mozart, Beethoven and Verdi; film-makers from America and Europe. We will focus on major periods in Western cultural development such as the Renaissance, the Age of Humanism, the Romantic Movement, and the Modernist Movement in order to establish relationships between social movements and art forms. In addition to lectures and required readings, there will also be video presentations of movies and operas, and many paintings available online on the Blackboard. Students will be enabled to see interconnections between the various arts. It is the objective of the course that through comparative analysis and theoretical concepts students will acquire the ability to assess the humanistic spirit of Western culture, develop a critical aesthetic perspective, and identify further interest in the cultural traditions of the West. The comparative component of the course aims at challenging students to reflect critically upon their own context and to identify with forms of artistic expression closest to their own human experience.

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